View Full Version : Mystery Shoppers- Is This For Real?
07-22-2001, 02:50 AM
I sent an S.A.S.E. to an address in Orlando, FL in response to an ad in last Sunday's classifieds about "mystery shoppers" and how much money you can make being one.
The S.A.S.E. arrived Friday with a couple of pages of testimonials, a few paragraphs of what mystery shopping is all about, and a request for $12 for a "kit" of some kind.
The whole process has caused some red flags to go up in my mind:
It's a work-from-home-for-large-sums-of-easy-money kind of thing, which is always an alert about a scam.
They're asking for money up front, which is also a big tip-off. Except in this case, it's only $12.
It's based in Orlando. Florida has been a haven for unscrupulous businesses because of their relatively lax attitude toward mail fraud (or so says Tom Marchino the Troubleshooter on late-night talk radio).
However, throwing a wrench into the whole thing is the fact that several years ago I worked at a Disney Store for some extra Christmas money, and The Boss told us that mystery shoppers were in the area and we were to be on our best behavior. So maybe this is for real....
So what's the straight dope on mystery shoppers? Is the whole thing another in a long list of work-from-home scams?
I don't know all about this work from home thing, or the specific thing you are looking in to, but yes, there are mystery shoppers.
I worked at a store where they had a very regimented mystery shopper program. Each week, a mystery shopper would come in and buy stuff from all our departments and test the people on courtesy, speed of service, whether or not you said your lines correctly, how clean the place was, whether or not your nametag was on straight, etc. Then they computed a score based on all these things and stuff like raises and promotions were highly (can't emphasize this enough) based on how you did with the mystery shoppers. Not only did mystery shoppers exist, they also sometimes gave me nightmares.
07-22-2001, 05:59 AM
You bet they're real! The local convienience store chain I used to work for had them. They'd try to hit each store once a week, and sometimes they'd wait in the parking lot for you to close the store to check you out. One person was fired after a mystery shopper found the clerk taking a bunch of cartons of cigarettes from the store at closing...
07-22-2001, 06:16 AM
Yes, "Mystery Shoppers" are real enough, and any competent retail chain uses them. However, you certainly don't need to pay $12 to "get into the game" - there are many, many, companies that recruit shoppers on the web (do a search).
I should point out that the pay is on a per-job basis, meaning no benefits, and is really not that great. On the other hand, it's an easy enough way to pick up spare cash in your equally spare time.
Bottom line: Google saves you $12. Is there anything it can't do?
07-22-2001, 06:34 AM
My guess is that the $12.00 "kit" you speak of consists of nothing but a list of stores and companies that use mystery shoppers.
A few years ago a friend of mine answered a similar ad that offered a "kit" to help you work at home reading and synopsizing novels and short stories as future movies or television programs. In return for her $7.00, my friend recieved a list of motion-picture and television studios who employ such readers and information about contacting them for employment. This was pre-internet, but she could have gotten the same information for free at the public library.
07-22-2001, 06:41 AM
Well, it's not really a scam, but it's not wholly on the up-and-up, either.
What this company is selling you for your $12, is a list of places that do, indeed, hire "Mystery Shoppers".
What you get is a couple of photocopied sheets with several addresses and phone numbers, and a few brief instructions- usually- on how to write in for an application.
It's very much like those who sell lists of upcoming Goverment auctions; you see the ads in magazines advertising things like $500 drug-bust Porsches and whatnot. Same game- all you really get is a list of places to write in to, in order to either join their auction mailing list or to get a copy of their upcoming auction schedule.
While it's not a "scam" like the pyramid schemes mentioned in another thread, it's also not what you expect, and in most cases, what you get is merely information that is freely available at Libraries, on the 'net, and in trade publications.
Is it worth the $12? Like Some Guy mentions, check the 'net and you'll find all the info you need and more, and you'll save the money to boot.
07-22-2001, 11:35 AM
Yes, there are mystery shoppers. I know because I have worked as one. I got the job through the temp agency I work for. I think they gave it to me because the previous two assignments I'd been promised fell through at the last minute, so they wanted to give me a plum assignment to make up for it. I didn't have to pay anyone anything to get the job.
FWIW, mystery shopping is not as great a job as you might think. I had to drive all over town (once only to find that the next store on my list was no longer there!), stand around in stores for ages waiting to be helped, and listen to very similar sales pitches again and again. After the first few times it got pretty difficult to pretend that I knew nothing about the product and needed to have it all explained to me.
07-22-2001, 12:22 PM
check out http://members.aol.com/jmoreau1/lks.html it has what you are looking for
07-22-2001, 11:19 PM
Paying someone $12.00 sounds like a ripoff to me.
EVERYTIME I replied to an ad in a newspaper they never called back. I assume because they always asked if I had done mystery shopping before and I answered yes, they didnt want someone EXPERIENCED and wouldnt fall for their game.
I'd stick to just "shopping" restaurants. The restaurants are almost always very nice and the food is free. Ya gotta eat anyway, right????????
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